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A Hostage Negotiator engages hostage-takers in order to find out who they are, what they want, and what it will take to peacefully end their standoff with law enforcement. Because a hostage situation is an extraordinary circumstance — the worst-case scenario for Police Officers — it requires the extraordinary finesse of a Hostage Negotiator to reach a peaceful resolution.
Although Police Officers can physically intervene if necessary, doing so could provoke the hostage-taker to harm the hostages. Therefore, as a Hostage Negotiator, you’re the best option for simultaneously protecting the hostages and arresting the hostage-taker.
Under the direction of a Police Commanding Officer, you have several objectives. First is communicating with the hostage-taker to determine his or her identity, motivation, and demands. Second is developing a psychological profile of the suspect so Police Officers know who they’re dealing with — someone who’s depressed, for instance, versus someone who’s angry — and what negotiating tactics are likely to work best.
Third is prolonging the situation so Police Officers have more time to diffuse it. Fourth and last is making a deal: Although you probably won’t give the hostage-taker millions of dollars or a private jet, you can gradually chip away at his or her demands — offering food and water, for instance, in exchange for hostages and weapons — until the suspect is out of options.
At the end of the day, you’re like a Gymnast on the balance beam: To protect hostages, you walk a fine line between giving in and standing firm!